You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days, and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. – Neil Gaiman
There. I wrote a heading. Now what? It’s Monday. I don’t feel like writing. I hate all of these sentences. They sound like everything I’ve ever read from every bad writer who thinks they’re a good writer. But I have seven sentences already. And there’s an eighth. That’s some kind of start. At this point these seem like filler, sure; like I’m just scooping through the packing peanuts, but haven’t gotten to the thing in the center of the box yet. Maybe these sentences will be good later on, after I edit it tomorrow. Maybe.
Sometimes when my writing starts like this, with little do-nothings, I accidentally say an interesting thing, and off I go. That doesn’t seem to be happening here. The important thing is to keep the words coming.
Neil Gaiman, also quoted at the top, says writing is like building a wall: The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it, it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.
Every new day it’s frustrating again. You got your section of the wall built yesterday — your allotment got written. Phew. Now you have to get back into it. You look down at your pile of rocks and you say, “That’s just a pile of rocks. What am I supposed to do with that?”
That’s why procrastination is such an important part of the process. You need time to wonder about your rocks.
Is this cute? These short, self-effacing sentences? Is this my voice? Is this how I’m going to do it from now on? It kind of sounds like one of those final voice-overs from “Grey’s Anatomy.” Is this too Shonda Rhimes-y? Do I have an original thought in my head? as Charlie Kaufman wondered in “Adaptation.”
Maybe if I crack the window for some air. I should let the dog out before I get comfortable. This blanket on my lap is folded length-ways; It’s not covering my feet. Let me look up if I used that semicolon right. I think I hear the cat vomiting. The coffee’s tepid; I should zap it. I’m gonna hit the Preview button to see how the spacing looks on this so far.
Can I be honest? Writing is the worst. Until you’ve made something out of the rocks. Then writing is the best.
This is like going to the gym. You know it’s good for you, and you’re going to feel really swell about yourself when you’re done, but getting started is a bitch. So you drive the scenic route; take your sweet time getting changed in the locker room; remember you didn’t bring a bottle of water; stop at the machine to buy one; get your earbuds out; untangle your earbuds; find the right playlist; look at the view out the window; stretch more than you need to …
Get started already! You’re making me nervous.
Dorothy Parker, hilarious writer, and founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, said, I hate writing. I love having written.
True so much. When I’m done with this post, I’m going to feel pretty good about it. But now? Shit. I should probably delete everything above this, and start with the Parker quote.
What else is procrastination like? Ummmmmmmmm …
Oh, you know how when your dog wants to lay down on a blanket, he turns around and around, pawing at the blanket, then turning some more, then pawing, then turning, before he finally settles down and goes to sleep?
That’s what I’m doing. I’m circling around this page. It’s filled with nonsense now, but I’ll paw at it until it’s free of the debris. I’m pawing some now. I’m wiping shmutz off the screen, adjusting the brightness, cleaning my glasses. Turning and pawing. Pawing and turning.
Now, that sounded too “writerly.” I’m no writer! Maybe this is why I only had one “Like” on my last post, and let’s be brutally honest here, I was the one who liked it. I got tired of seeing the blue zero above the post, so I clicked Like on my own post. Yeah. So?
I’m looking at that picture up there of Nicholas Cage playing Charlie Kaufman thinking about muffins. I know how he feels. I could really go for a muffin, too. There’s a new place in the neighborhood that has fresh muffins. Or I could go to the old place. Shit I’m still in my pajamas, and I have to get started on this. I have to concentrate. Come On! Must… write … through … the muffin.
The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. — Neil Gaiman again
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